Advocates for Philadelphia’s recreation centers packed a budget hearing for the merged Parks and Recreation Department, but the turnout may not translate into a larger budget.
Mike DiBerardinis, who heads up the merged department, told Councilwoman Blondell Renyolds that after about two years, the merged agency is finally truly together.
“It’s kind of the stuff I don’t like to do. I like to do big stuff,” DiBerardinis said. “But I really had people who forced me and the department to focus on paying attention to that. I think it’s done really well and I think the staff feels generally good about it.”
But park and recreation advocates turned out in force at the hearing, demanding a budget increase that had been proposed four years ago but never came through. Councilman Jim Kenney was philosophical about such a change while the overall budget is tight.
“If this is what is important to us as a 17-member body with at least 12 people supporting it, that’s what we will do, but you have to be responsible to say where it is coming from.”
At this point there is no change to the department’s budget.